Monthly Archives: February 2015

Liebster Award

Hotoffthematt.com nominated my blog for Liebster award. Very grateful since my blog is new and I am new to Bikram yoga.  The Liebster award is given to bloggers by other bloggers to recognize and encourage new blogs and their authors.

To claim my Liebster award, I need to do a few things, acknowledge who nominated me (thanks Hot off the Matt!), answer the questions they’ve listed, share 11 random facts about myself, nominate 11 bloggers with less than 200 followers and give them 11 questions to answer (not sure what’s going on with the #11!)

So hear goes…

Hot off the Matt Questions:

What is your secret desire?

To be able to travel without having a permanent address

Where did you live when you were the happiest?

Hmm, hard one. I’ll say Montreal, where I went to college.
What do you find most rewarding about blogging?

I get to share my passion with other people who are similarly inclined and we can all help and learn from each other.
What is your favorite color?

Black.
What cause or causes are you passionate about?

Yoga, autism, alzheimers and natural food
What did you want to be when you grew up when you were in grade school?

A teacher
What is your favorite TV show?

Shark Tank right now. I also really like Homeland.
What is your favorite vacation spot?

Istanbul is my fave city, although now a beach resort sounds dreamy.
When are you the happiest?

When I’m relaxed. Food is also generally involved.
What is your New Year’s Resolution for 2015 (if you have one)?

Attend yoga more regularly.
What is your favorite post that you have written so far and why?  Please share it here so we can enjoy it.

My favorite post was called “Why” because it expressed the frustrations when we want to be better. Of course, I know there is no better. http://halfmooning.com/?p=91

11 Random Facts

1. I am troubled by all the accusations leveled vs. Bikram and unsure what to do about it

2. I love massages

3. I have been a vegetarian since I was 12 although occasionally eat fish

4. I wish I had a fireplace

5. I am a workaholic and very driven

6. I have gained weight and just can’t seem to lose it

7. I am obsessively neat

8. Before  yoga, I ran

9. I am very short. Barely 5′

10. I lived in Egypt for a year

11. My dream vacations are Bhutan and Patagonia

My 11 nominees (I am naming some blogs that have already been nominated, I know that may not be kosher)

http://www.fitqueenirene.com

http://dotheposture.blogspot.com

http://createnplate.com

https://confessionsofayogaprincess.wordpress.com

http://www.mybikramyogalife.com

http://ohsheglows.com

http://yogaanddoughnuts.com

http://www.curvyyoga.com

http://viewsfromthepodium.com

http://www.jbrownyoga.com/blog

https://tallmartha.wordpress.com

My 11 Questions

1. What is your favorite yoga posture?

2. What is your favorite dessert?

3. What is your favorite band?

4. What’s a new passion for you?

5. What’s your ideal day off?

6. Why did you start blogging?

7. What do you care most about?

8. What’s your favorite city?

9. Who inspires you?

10. What’s your guilty pleasure?

11. Mick or Keith?

Namaste.

the-liebster-award

Yoga Tops

In my quest for comfortable yoga clothes that fit, I have discovered 2 different kind of tops. I’m not talking about bras, as I’m not comfortable enough for that yet. I wear tops that cover my font and back…

One is the shiny, lycra/spandex kind.  I think I like these better as the material feels thinner and dries quicker.  They are the slightly shiny material that feels like the same fabric as a bathing suit. They are extremely clingy, which I don’t love, but that is how most hot yoga clothes are…

The other feels more like cotton, although I have bought ones designed for hot yoga. The material is more like a tshirt and they feel (once you’re sweating) a little heavier. I just got a yogabela top on ebay and I was surprised this was the fabric…

Of course, I continue to take a large in both of these. What’s your favorite materials/brands to practice in?

Screen Shot 2015-02-23 at 10.05.30 AM New-design-high-quality-factory-price-supplex-womens-hot-yoga-tops-

cotton type                                                   lycra type

Yoga Addiction

Yoga addiction is hard to understand. Easier to understand addiction to french fries, Chinese food or watching Homeland. I love those things. Yoga, I love and dread. I have a really hard time dragging myself to class, feel pressure to squeeze in yoga with a busy life, get so frustrated with my limitations, get annoyed with myself if I can’t do all the postures, and sometimes feel downright terrible in class. But, I love it! Go figure. I try to work yoga around my dinner plans, morning meetings, days off…trying to squeeze in class times that won’t wake me up at 5:15am or get me home at 11pm.

I do think it’s something chemical, something in the brain that creates a sense of contentment, however brief. It’s also a sense of accomplishment and a permanent challenge where you check off small victories…slowly.

Bikram yoga just feels like you are doing something good for your body. I am still trying to take away more of the mental perks like calmness under pressure, seeing the big picture, etc. I find those are more elusive. I lose my temper pretty easily.

Like any addiction, it’s pretty powerful and an important part of my life. I could see where one could get too obsessive about it, although right now, I’m hardly there..

 

 

Namaste.

 

addiction

More than Bikram Yoga?

Prior to starting Bikram yoga, I was doing mostly cardio (treadmill, stairmaster, elliptical) at the gym plus some classes (Cardio Kickboxing, etc.). I mixed in a bit of weight training as well. Since I’ve started yoga, these alternate workouts have practically dropped to zero. I am still maintaining my gym membership, although unsure why.

I went to the gym on a lark and was shocked to see how much my cardio had declined. Not that I expected yoga to make me a marathon runner, but given how much endurance it takes… well, it may give me endurance but my treadmill level and stepper levels dropped considerably. Not a shock, just disappointing. Given my weight is not really budging, I also thought maybe cardio could be a good addition to yoga…

It made me wonder what is the ideal mix staying in shape? I’m pushing myself to go to yoga class as a priority and the 2-3 days I don’t, I’m generally not doing any working out. It’s also hard to imagine given how long a Bikram class is and how much effort it takes that I would go to the gym on the same day. Not the least in all of this is time. I have a high pressure job, family obligations, etc.  A yoga class already takes about 2.5 hours of my time, between getting there, home, showering, etc.

As a birthday gift to my husband, I got him a week at a workout resort in upstate NY. (Yes, that’s what he considers a good time). It was 2 for 1, so that will be our vacation in April. I think I’ll need to start adding cardio into my week so that I can keep up there as I know most of the classes will not be yoga. Hard to know how to prioritize since I really want to build up my yoga practice.

What’s your ideal workout combinations?

 

Namaste.

Yoga Blogs

Just have to say how happy I am to have found some Bikram blogs I can really relate to. This week, both Hot off the Matt and My Bikram Yoga Life had great posts I really found helpful… related to subjects I’ve discussed here on Halfmooning.

Hot off the Matt wrote about when to go to class and when to stay home when you’re under the weather. I dealt with this a lot in Dec/Jan. More than anything, in my case, I felt tired with no energy, so I probably should have gone to class more, since I couldn’t get anyone sick…but it was very enlightening to hear the good and the bad of going to class when you’re not 100%.

http://hotoffthemat.com/2015/02/17/when-is-it-smart-to-take-a-sick-day-from-class/

My Bikram Yoga Life also had a great post I read repeatedly on how often to go class, a continued struggle of mine as you may know. For many months I was consistently going 4x  a week then after a month or so of being sick, I’ve had a hard time getting back into the routine, averaging only 2-3x a week lately. It’s something, but not as much as I would like.

http://www.mybikramyogalife.com/2015/02/16/how-often-should-you-go-to-yoga/

I found it very interesting that the author only went 1-2x a week for the first year she started. I’m not sure how much progress she made, but then started going more regularly and then almost daily. So amazing! It definitely made me want to aim for going back to 4x a week, but also the perspective to allow myself to live life and understand sometimes things get in the way of yoga, and that’s ok. Life happens!

Anyway, I encourage you to read these terrific articles and more from these 2 great blogs!

Namaste.

All Wrong

I was in a 7am class today and the substitute teacher commented on my warm up with Pada-Hastasana. I’ve already mentioned I can’t scoop my hands behind my ankles, I tend to get close but stay closer to the sides of my feet. My head and stomach don’t touch my thighs however I can get my legs straight when I stretch. The teacher had me bend my knees more and move even more forward on my toes. I have to admit I was confused since  I tend to straighten my legs when I stretch. Maybe I don’t understand the purpose of the pose. I’m going to review the descriptions online. My way, I’m definitely pulling and stretching my hamstrings, but not getting much out of the sandwich part. His way, knees were bent, I was more forward and pushing myself more together vs. stretching my hamstrings.  Live and learn!

Namaste.

the right way below.

Bikram-postures-Hands-to-Feet-Pose

More Yoga

Last week I managed 3 Bikram classes and 1 Restorative class. That’s my minimum, but since I’ve been struggling, I’m glad I got them in. I still waiver between morning and night classes, which I think is fine, except it makes sleeping harder. (Yes, I’m one of those yogis who has insomnia, despite all the talk of yoga helping with sleep).

This week I have plans for Tues, Wed and Thurs night, plus Sat. So, got a class in today, planning on tomorrow am, hopefully Thurs am and Friday night. I might be able to take a class over the weekend as bonus or make up depending how things go.

Right now, I’m more into routine and getting back in the flow. Classes are a struggle and hard. I still can’t figure out why I struggle with so many poses. Why can’t after 9 months I put my hands under my feet to properly start standing head to knee? Why can’t my hands scoop my ankles in the beginning of class with the warm up? Why doesn’t my head touch my knee in separate standing head to knee, where connecting head to knee is the posture? Yes, these noises still clamor in my head but they don’t stop me from trying and going to class. I know that’s the only way I’ll get better.

Go go go! Namaste.

The Grind

Recently I’ve had a series of what I call “grind” classes. Not great and not bad, just a grind to get through. On the plus side, I’ve managed to do all the postures this week and not skip any, on the down side, I don’t see any improvements or progress. It seems so random.

It still amazes me how difficult it is to undue years of injuries that resulted in being tight and inflexible. My left side is a total mess. Despite physical therapy on a running-related hip injury and rotator cuff injury  more than 15 years ago, the consequences still reign supreme.

I like to think any class I go to and try is going to help and be a building block toward getting better. A check on my tally of effort. On the negative side, I recall a teacher telling a class that showing up is not enough.  If you’re lazy when you do Bikram, your progress will be slow.

I know the grind classes will pass and then they’ll come back and then they’ll go away again. Nature of the yoga I guess.

 

TMI

Jumping back into morning classes after being out of town the last few days. I’m never what I would call my most alert at 5:30 am. I put on my yoga clothes, then my regular clothes (it’s cold out!) and head to class. Starting today, for the next 2 weeks, my usual morning teacher is away so I’ll be having a series of subs. Should be an interesting way to experience different teachers and how I relate. This morning the class was more packed than usual, making me think the teacher was pretty great. It was a teacher I never had before. He was very chatty, friendly and demonstrated a lot of the postures-something I rarely see. He was extremely animated, which was nice while the cobwebs of my sleep disappeared.

I completed all postures, better in some (airplane), worse in others (bow sitting pose),  challenged in the same group where I am struggling (standing head to knee, bow, toe, etc.) but generally pleased with getting the class done.

So, readers, the story starts here. I head back to the locker after a too brief savassana. Out of the shower, I’m starting to put on my clothes and realize I forgot to bring a bra. First time that’s happened, but I immediately realized I didn’t put one in my bag. So I’m starting to panic and quickly thinking through my options. It’s 8:30, I don’t have time to run home, are any stores open. I put on my shirt without a bra hoping… no go. Then it hits me they have yoga bra tops for sale. So, I put on my clothes, cover up with my coat and buy the plainest, black sports bra (of course, size Large, WTF??!) and head to my office where I immediately lock myself in the bathroom and redress. Disaster averted. You can believe when I get home tonight, a bra will be the first thing I pack into my bag for tomorrow’s class.

Namaste.

My Bahia black yoga bra, although this is not me and my size large

YB0018BA-315-T

The Mix

I’ve been wondering if it’s best to mix up yoga with different forms of exercise. Frankly, the biggest challenge is the time. I’m trying to get better at yoga, so tend to focus all my potential gym time there, however, I’ve noticed my cardio level is definitely lower than when I regularly went to the gym.

One of my yoga teachers has always told us to supplement yoga with strength training while one of my friends who is a yoga teacher has recommended to do cardio on the side. Currently, I do neither as I fear it would result in less yoga class attendance, which lately has already been sketchy. It’s also impossible to imagine going to Bikram and then the gym on the same day, although I suppose that’s possible.

I’ve definitely noticed, Bikram does not seem to do much for building my arm strength and while my cardio level is lower than in the past, the workout does seem pretty comprehensive.

 

What’s your workout mix?